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02 June 2009 @ 05:48 pm
Programming Inspiration  
Hi, everyone!

I’ve been pondering my programming submissions. The submissions deadline has been extended to June 7, in case you haven’t heard, so if you’re on the fence or if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss, please do put together a proposal! Everyone’s welcome to submit, whether you have a PhD in Literature or Women’s Studies, are a woman working in publishing, or like me, you only have degrees that are utterly useless in this field, but you’re a huge fan of women fantasy writers and women fantasy characters.

Anyway! I have been pondering my programming submissions, which are bouncing around in my head like pinballs, and I thought maybe we could all use a little inspiration and celebration.

So do tell me, please, who are your favorite female fantasy characters and why do you love them so much?

Here are some of mine:

Keladry, from Tammy Piece’s Protector of the Small quartet: Kel is the first openly female knight in over a hundred years, and she trains and achieves her knighthood despite ongoing bullying and undermining from others in her life. Also, her mom is a badass and her queen is a badass and every time I read her conversation with Alanna after Kel’s achieved her, ahem, distaff shield, I have a little cry.

Ellen, from Cinda Williams Chima’s Warrior Heir, et al: I can’t really tell you why Ellen is a badass without giving away huge plot points, but Ellen is a complete badass. If you’ve read the books, I bet you know what I mean!

The White Witch, from C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Yeah, I know C. S. Lewis had serious women issues (“Battles are ugly when women fight,” indeed), but from his women issues sprung one of the most terrifying, powerful villains in fantasy literature.

Alice, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: I don’t know that Carroll thought he was telling anything other than a cute adventure story, but Alice has always been one of my favorite heroines because she finds herself having an adventure, and uses her wits to stand on her own two feet and navigate Wonderland (all that eating and drinking of unknown substances aside!).

Meg, from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: Okay, okay, Wrinkle is more sci-fi than fantasy, but it was the first book I read as a child that had a “difficult” heroine and praised her for being “difficult.” Meg, I ♥ you!

And yours?

thistle in greythistleingrey on June 3rd, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
Hmm, this is almost as hard as "Which are your favorite books?" :)

Joanna from Barbara Hambly's The Silent Tower + The Silicon Mage, quite possibly because she's a computer programmer (in books published during the 1980s) who keeps her head despite stepping into a world very foreign to her own and making a difference there. *sidles past spoilers*

Ariane of Greer Gilman's Moonwise, who has one of the spookiest quests told in the best-fitting language ever.

Aliera e'Kieron and Sethra Lavode, both of Steven Brust's Dragaera books (particularly Five Hundred Years After): Aliera kicks ass gracefully and with singular determination, and Sethra is an ancient sorceress who moonlights as [spoiler] to keep from falling out of touch with younger acquaintances. That's a flat description, not the reasons why they're awesome, but the latter are necessarily story-destructively spoilery.

Faris Nallaneen of Caroline Stevermer's A College of Magics, who shoulders responsibility. Ack, spoilers. That'll have to do. For similar reasons but in very different circumstances, Polly in Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, and not only because I'm a sucker for ballads transformed intelligently into novels.... In like manner, Arry of Pamela Dean's The Dubious Hills.

Arya, the tomboy of G. R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, despite my conflicted relationship with those books' setting. (I know too much about the material on which he draws to believe in the particular world he's built, much though I respect how he's done it.)

And yes, L'Engle's Meg is indeed difficult and awesome. :) If I can add another SF heroine: Dairine Callahan of Diane Duane's So You Want to Be a Wizard et seqq. I always respected Nita, her older sister, more, but Dairine has harder battles to overcome--and when I was a teenager, I wanted that fictional Apple III.

This is depressingly culturally monotonic, but the not-European-or-mainstream-American examples that come to mind are all SF, not fantasy. hmmm.